A Charlevoix County jury deliberated for approximately 20 minutes this afternoon before rendering a verdict of guilty on all three counts against Fernando Dale Gamez, 22, of Boyne Falls.
Gamez was convicted of possessing an illegal short-barreled shotgun, a felony carrying a maximum penalty of five years in prison, and two counts of improper possession of a firearm in a motor vehicle, 90 day misdemeanors.
According to trial testimony in the 33rd Circuit Court, the charges arose out of a traffic stop in Boyne Valley Township on the early morning hours of March 20, 2015, when Michigan State Police Troopers stopped a vehicle in which Gamez was a passenger. When the troopers approached the vehicle they saw two guns in the backseat, one a sawed-off 20 gauge shotgun and the other a 12 gauge shotgun.
Both guns were lying in the backseat uncased and readily accessible to Gamez, in violation of Michigan law. Police also seized 12 and 20 gauge shells in the backseat as well as on an ammunition belt worn by Gamez while in the vehicle.
The jurors heard testimony from Troopers Ben Eckola and Ron Nadeau as well as State Police firearms expert Ken Polhemus. Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Mark Muniak prosecuted the case.
“Thanks to the jury for their time, consideration and patience,” Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof said. “There are good reasons why the legislature has banned short barreled shotguns as they are easily concealed and very dangerous weapons. Also any gun owner should know that to transport shotguns or rifles, they should be cased and not loose in the passenger compartment of a vehicle.”
“The Troopers did an excellent job discovering and addressing this dangerous situation,” Telgenhof said. “They and Mark (Muniak) did a very nice job presenting the case to the jury. The people of our county are safer because of the officers’ actions and this verdict.”
Gamez will be sentenced by Circuit Judge Roy C. Hayes III on Friday, December 4 at 9:00 a.m.